ALLEMAN - North Polk took advantage of running on its home track to qualify for state in seven events and Ballard pushed one runner through to Des Moines during the girls’ competition at the Class 3A state qualifying track meet May 11 in Alleman.
Led by juniors Maria Gorham, Amelia Lesher and Sophie Blanchard, the North Polk girls qualified for state in three individual events and four relays. The Comets scored 99 points to place third out of eight teams behind Gilbert (141.5) and Dallas Center-Grimes (137.5).
Gorham made state in all four of her events at the qualifying meet for the second year in a row. At Alleman, she won the high jump and 200-meter dash individually and helped North Polk place second in the distance medley and third in the sprint medley.
“It’s exciting,” Gorham said. “I hope when we get to the blue track (at Drake Stadium) we can drop our times even more and go after some school records.”
Gorham already holds the Comet high jump record of five feet, seven inches she set while winning the Drake Relays in April. She easily won the qualifying meet — topping out at a jump of 5-4 to rank fifth among qualifiers.
Going into state ranked fifth puts Gorham in great position to go after a state championship. Gorham placed third in 3A at last year’s state meet with a then personal-best jump of 5-4.
“I’d like to PR in the high jump again,” Gorham said. “It’s going to be really competitive. I’m really excited.”
A school record in the distance medley is also on Gorham’s bucket list of accomplishments she’s gunning for at state.
With Eva Schoenberg, Macy Gill and Lesher running the other three legs, the Comet distance medley team ran a time of four minutes, 22.02 seconds at the qualifying meet. Iowa Falls-Alden won in 4:20.98 effort.
“Last year at state our distance med was (around) 0.5 seconds from breaking the (school) record,” Gorham said. “I hope we get it this year.”
Gorham won the 200 at the qualifying meet in thrilling fashion. She just edged out DCG’s Tatum Jorgensen for the win, running a :26.31 to Jorgensen’s :26.33.
The Comet sprint medley team wasn’t able to automatically qualify for state after placing third. Only the top two finishers automatically qualify in each event.
But the Comet quartet of Schoenberg, Gill, Gorham and Sierra Lambert was the final team in 3A to qualify based on time after running a 1:54.14.
Lesher, Blanchard and Lambert also had big days for the Comet girls.
In addition to being a part of the distance medley team, Lesher also qualified individually in the 1,500 for the third year in a row. Lesher, Blanchard and Lambert were also part of North Polk’s qualifying 4 X 800 team and the latter two runners also helped North Polk make state in the 4 X 400.
“I’m very happy,” Lesher said. “Those are the events that I went to state in last year, and I know my teammates and I wanted to get back in this year. We had this goal in mind all season, so it’s nice to know the work pays off.”
Lesher won the 1,500 in 5:04.23. She beat Iowa Falls-Alden’s Lauren Juhl by 2.51 seconds for first and Nevada’s Kacie Rewerts came in 4.38 seconds behind Lesher in third place.
“It was tough,” Lesher said. “I knew I had some competition to go up against. It was a little scary, but I think my coach (Scott Huether) trained us well and I was prepared for this race.”
The Comet 4 X 800 team ran a 10:10.73 to trail only Gilbert’s 10:07.25 at the qualifying meet. Lambert and Grace Croat ran the other two legs for North Polk.
Blanchard also anchored North Polk to a runner-up finish in the 4 X 400. Schoenberg, Lambert and Kennedy Wendel ran the first three legs as the Comets clocked in at 4:15.49 to take second to Gilbert’s 4:12.60.
“We just had to leave it all on the track, run our hardest and have no regrets,” Blanchard said. “That’s what we did. I’m proud of my team.”
Freshman Ellie Twedt gave the Ballard girls a representative at state. Twedt qualified in the 3,000 on time after running a 11:20.12 at Alleman to place third.
“Ellie is qualified for the state meet as a freshman,” Ballard head girls’ track coach Scott Barth said. “That is a great accomplishment.”
Ballard placed eighth as a team at the qualifying meet with 44 points. Barth said his young program will only get better.
“Overall, we lacked depth and experience this season (as) 67 percent of our team is composed of freshmen,” Barth said. “We lose a very talented and dedicated relay runner in Jenna Moody. She will be greatly missed for her talents and leadership. However, we return the other 94 percent of the team next season. When combined with that talented eighth-grade group, we will make great strides next season and move up the leader board.”
The 2017 state coed track meet takes place today through Saturday at Drake Stadium in Des Moines. Class 3A competition starts at 2 p.m. today and Friday and all classes begin at 9 a.m. Saturday.
Final girls’ team scores: 1. Gilbert 141.5 points, 2. DCG 137.5, 3. North Polk 99, 4. Boone 98, 5. Iowa Falls-Alden 81, 6. Nevada 68, 7. Webster City 58, 8. Ballard 44.
Individual results - Ballard and North Polk
Shot put - 8. Leah Cam (NP), 27-10.25; 9. Tayler Bushman (NP), 27-10; 10. Alison VanErsvelde (B), 27-9.5; 16. Brenna Westvold (B), 22-10.5.
Discus - 8. Bushman (NP), 82-2; 10. VanErsvelde (B), 78-2; 11. Cam (NP), 76-3; 12. Westvold (B), 73-2.
Long jump - 7. Esther Ross (NP), 15-4.5; 8. Sydni Thrailkill (B), 15-4; 9. Jadyn Miller (B), 14-11.5.
High jump - 1. Maria Gorham (NP), 5-4.
Sprint medley relay - 3. North Polk (Eva Schoenberg, Sierra Lambert, Macy Gill, Gorham), 1:54.14; 7. Ballard (Thrailkill, Taiylor Wright, Isabella Johnson, Skylar Rigby), 2:00.51.
3,000-meter run - 3. Ellie Twedt (B), 11:20.12; 4. Emily Patterson (NP), 11:35.56; 5. Summer McVicker (B), 11:52.22; 7. Sophie Schaffer (NP), 12:05.38.
4 X 800-meter relay - 2. North Polk (Sophie Blanchard, Lambert, Grace Croat, Amelia Lesher), 10:10.73.
Shuttle hurdle relay - 3. North Polk (Cassandra Cory, Bailey Drent, Noelle Sullivan, Kara Gorham), 1:18.12.
100-meter dash - 5. Miller (B), :13.48; 9. Mahliah Ingersoll (NP), :13.78; 10. Ross (NP), :13.80; 15. Sailer Bernholtz (B), :14.69.
Distance medley relay - 2. North Polk (Schoenberg, Gill, Gorham, Lesher), 4:22.02; 7. Ballard (Jenna Moody, Rachel Newell, Johnson, Hailey Cole), 4:41.49.
400-meter dash - 3. Kennedy Wendel (NP), 1:05.16; 9. Rebecca Rimathe (NP), 1:09.60.
4 X 200-meter relay - 4. North Polk (Fagen, Gill, Lambert, Schoenberg), 1:52.49; 5. Ballard (Thrailkill, Miller, Moody, Newell), 1:56.46.
100-meter hurdles - 6. Sarah Stolte (B), :17.17; 9. Wright (B), :17.77; 10. Cory (NP), :18.23; 11. K. Gorham (NP), :18.79.
800-meter run - 7. Blanchard (NP), 2:31.20; 8. Croat (NP), 2:32.69; 9. Lauren Matthews (B), 2:40.52; 14. Abbey Ross (B), 2:51.94.
200-meter dash - 1. Gorham (NP), :26.31; 7. Wright (B), :29.83; 8. Jazmyne Bailey (NP), :29.94; 12. Stolte (B), :30.30
400-meter hurdles - 6. Cory (NP), 1:13.89; 13. Drent (NP), 1:21.88.
1,500-meter run - 1. Lesher (NP), 5:04.23; 4. Twedt (B), 5:19.37; 6. McVicker (B), 5:22.18; 8. Patterson (NP), 5:23.92.
4 X 100-meter relay - 5. Ballard (Thrailkill, Miller, Moody, Newell), :53.28; 6. North Polk (Ross, K. Gorham, Ingersoll, Fagen), :55.07.
4 X 400-meter relay - 2. North Polk (Schoenberg, Lambert, Wendel, Blanchard), 4:15.49; 5. Ballard (Johnson, Rigby, Cole, Ross), 4:37.99.